Seneca's "On philosophy and riches"

October 10, 2018

Seneca was one of the world’s most interesting and paradoxical philosophers: a Stoic who wrote against wealth but was also one of the richest men in the Roman empire. I recently saw Johnny Uzan’s thread on Seneca’s letter, “On philosophy and riches” and wanted to save some of its points here.

If you wish to have leisure for your mind, either be a poor man, or resemble a poor man.

“But,” you say, “I shall lack the necessities of life.” In the first place, you cannot lack them; because nature demands but little, and the wise man suits his needs to nature.

With free and happy spirit he will laugh at the bustling of rich men, and the flurried ways of those who are hastening after wealth, and say: “Why of your own accord postpone your real life to the distant future? Shall you wait for some interest to fall due, or for some income on your merchandise, or for a place in the will of some wealthy old man, when you can be rich here and now?”

Tim Ferriss made three volumes of Stoic writing featuring Seneca. Find them here.